How AI instruments at Mailchimp may also help market smaller companies
A new pair of marketing tools from Mailchimp aims to make machine learning easier for companies that don't necessarily have the resources to open a big data science department or expensive technology.
One named "Creative Assistant" scans the design elements of a company website and then automatically creates marketing content for everything from social ads to zoom backgrounds that match what the algorithm perceives to be the company's trademark. Another new feature recommends the next step in a marketing plan based on the behavior of other companies that have used the service.
The aim is to help small and medium-sized businesses that may be overwhelmed by the prospect of a creative campaign or lack access to data science resources that can make content production for larger companies more efficient and effective.
"Creating ads that look engaging and make (our small business users) look like they are competitive against a larger organization is a huge step for them," said David Dewey, vice president, data products, Mailchimp. “We hear it all the time – our users say they want to look as good as the great people who don't quote a quote. They want to be able to hold their own against companies bigger than theirs. They want to be able to hit over their weight. "
While a certain portion of the companies using Mailchimp are inherently creative, Dewey says that companies that are more technical in nature (e.g. law firms or IT consultancies) can often deal with the aspect of creating content on the basis of the Platform to fight.
It is also much less likely that these companies are already investing in machine learning. A recent report by IT company Spiceworks found that small and medium-sized businesses are about 10 times less likely to use AI than larger companies – only about 3% of companies under 5,000 employees say they have implemented the technology.
Janera Soerel, director of business development and customer management at workplace management platform Better Spaces, said the company had never used AI before the pandemic pushed it to do more of its digital marketing and reached out to Mailchimp.
"It was definitely a steep learning curve. It is the first time that we have used AI-enabled marketing techniques, but we learned very quickly and we are doing well," said Soerel. "This allows us to scale much faster than before."
According to Dewey, the ultimate goal of the project is to create a software suite that will allow entire marketing campaigns to be created and run automatically when a user signs up for Mailchimp. The service could create and schedule content dynamically through social, email and other digital channels.
"Right now, users can create multi-channel campaigns themselves, but it takes quite a bit of work to get there," said Dewey. “We want to take this work off their plate and allow them to basically explain to us the concept of what they want to market and go to the trouble of getting it all working across multiple channels for them and doing it automatically. "
Meanwhile, other small business platforms offer even more experimental uses for creative AI. British website maker Zyro has integrated a state-of-the-art speech generator AI called GPT-2 to write random parts of the web copy or generate slogans for its small business customers. More recently, a feature has been added that creates an endless rudimentary element of logos from scratch.